[Laughs] There’s no such thing as the first magician. There are different types.
[In the next film, The Wizard of Oz, Mickey tries to make a witch with a magic wand. He falls in love with her, but she dies as a result.]
“The Wizard of Oz” was written by Bill Watterson, who’s now in his 80s.
Was there any consideration to do a sequel?
We loved the book so much we said: “Yes.” We wrote about three episodes: “Wizard of Oz”: We had very long discussions about that story.
How did those talks shape the screenplay?
Disney decided to give a lot to the original story. They were very generous, but there was very little in it to do with the story of Oz. It was more about what happens after the movie. To my way of thinking back, the film was actually the film of “The Wizard of Oz”: We had to take them as far as the actual film is as possible.
Disney didn’t want to do another Disney movie. They made me a deal to do “Wizard of Oz III: The Search for Dorothy.” But I was so scared that they wouldn’t let me get away. I thought: “This is the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had.” I’d heard people say that movies should be done more like books, so I really thought of the story as a series, a trilogy with each movie being part of a whole.
This is the way I want to do it. To make it something that can stand on its own. Of course we could have been like Disney and written a script but the story has its own personality. No one else has written this kind of story.
What’s your most important lesson from “Wizard of Oz”?
The story is all about Dorothy’s transformation, because she has the power of transformation. The main theme of the movie is, if you see it as a story, it doesn’t work. It’s the fact that she’s a real character that’s always great.
Did you have to use your imagination to imagine a character like Dorothy or did you know what would work?
I know that the movie didn’t work when I first wrote it, but I didn’t let that stop me from trying. It was all very organic because we were not directing it, so there was no time for any kind of planning. No way could we really do
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